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Women and War in the Old French Troy Tradition: Literary and Artistic Representations of Female Agency in the Romans d’Antiquité

Harwood, Sophie Victoria (2017) Women and War in the Old French Troy Tradition: Literary and Artistic Representations of Female Agency in the Romans d’Antiquité. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The Old French romans d’antiquité (the Roman de Thèbes, the Roman de Troie, and the Roman d’Enéas) are often admired for their depiction of war, this being a focal concern of their respective narratives. However, the significant roles played by women in their representation of warfare are far less acknowledged. This thesis seeks to remedy that gap in the scholarship. The methodology is based on new philology, a gender studies approach, and new historicism. Attention is given not just to the romans’ texts but also to later manuscript copies and their illustrations as a way of interpreting the texts’ reception and value in the centuries after their composition. Chapter I considers the extent to which women were involved in the commissioning and patronage of the romans in the twelfth century and includes an analysis of manuscript traditions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Chapter II provides an overview of the written sources of the romans and shows how the female characters differ from their classical antecedents. It examines the romans’ historical environment and identifies women with whom the texts can be connected and who may have helped influence the portrayal of the female characters. Chapters III-VII are dedicated to the different roles or experiences that women have in war. Chapter III looks at the ways in which women are invoked as the causes of war; Chapter IV surveys how they are victimised and suffer; Chapter V explores how they perform ancillary functions; Chapter VI takes on one of the most culturally popular images of women in war, which is the figure of the Amazonian woman-warrior; finally, Chapter VII analyses women’s performance of political roles in conflict scenarios. Historical evidence suggests that this is the role in which we would expect women to be most active. Looking at these texts in this way sheds new light on women in the romans d’antiquité and illuminates how they are important to our understanding of the historical period in which these texts circulated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Medieval; Women; War; Warfare; Gender; Manuscripts; Illustrations; Illuminations; Troy; Trojans; Amazons; French; Romans d'Antiquité.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > University of Leeds Research Centres and Institutes > Institute for Medieval Studies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Institute for Medieval Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ms Sophie Victoria Harwood
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 14:16
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2017 14:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18623

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